The Light Chaser
The night sky was clear, with few burning stars spread in the blanket of black and a half crescent moon sailing between sheets of thin, ragged clouds and marine haze coming from the west, courtesy of the Western Winds. It began as it always begins; a sliver of green light blazed in the sky, followed by more of the dancing fluorescent ribbons that light up the night sky. The predominant was green; they looked like rivulets of green, blue, and yellow in the sky, snaking their way through the clouds and lighting the hazy atmosphere. It was a array of color and Daniel was eager to set his flying ship into the sky.
He paced the front of the small cottage with his arms crossed across his chest and mumbling to himself. He ran a hand over his shaggy, dark brown hair, pushing it back from his forehead. He couldn’t believe how anybody would miss such an important night like tonight, when the moon was only a shard of light in the clear sky and the darkness was propitious for the enthralling Lights.
“Daniel, don’t wear yourself out,” the voice of his patient father was like a sigh in the chilly night. He was leaning on the door frame of the open cottage door with an amused expression in his ageing face. He had many strands of graying hairs in his otherwise chestnut color hair and his brown eyes glinted with wisdom and adventure, just like his son’s.
“How can’t I?” Daniel demanded, “She was supposed to be here thirty minutes ago, we’re going to be late for the Lights and we won’t collect as much Dust as I wanted to. We are the laughing stock of the professional Chasers. I would’ve left if it was my call.” He looked accusingly at his father.
“You don’t see me laughing at you and your sister, do you?” his father asked. “It is very dangerous to go up there alone and you promised your sister you would take her this year. When both of us were younger, I used to have a lot of patience with you; I think you owe the same to Aimee.”
“Father, you taught me to sail last year,” Daniel said, “besides, flying ships is in my blood. When I turn eighteen next year I will sail the world and bring many things home for you and Aimee. We won’t depend on those merchants of the Southern Market anymore.”
“The world is built up upon human foundations and connections, we cannot live by ourselves,” his father, Joseph Wilker, mused, “we are an interdependent society.”
Daniel dismissed Joseph’s words with a wave of his hand, “Aimee has to be disciplined.”
Joseph chuckled, “good, my training has had some impact in your mind son. Someday you will be a great sailing aviator and I can proudly proclaim that I have taught you well.”
Daniel blushed, “you call it training but I call it natural skills.”
“Aimee’s eagerness to learn and to fly will make her a competitor worthy of her brother,” Joseph grinned when he saw his son fuming. “Children grow so fast these days, just yesterday both of you were just little kids flying their kites, now both of you are teenagers eager to explore the world and its beauty with my old ship.”
Daniel drew himself to his tallest posture, “I am not a teenager, dad. Aimee is because she is sixteen but I am considered a young adult now. One year makes a lot of difference.”
“We might have been born one year apart but I am million of light years more mature in mind and soul than you are.” Aimee’s voice called from behind Daniel. She was bent down, with her arms propping her arched body up on her knees. She was catching her breath after running uphill after she parted ways with Eliana. She straightened herself and smiled at her brother, “sorry for making you wait Daniel. Can we leave now?”
“Glad you made it before his impatience got the better of him,” Joseph said, walking toward his two children. He placed a hand on Daniel’s shoulder, “son, teach your sister what I have taught you about the sky, the light, and the mystery of the winds.” The hand on Daniel’s shoulder tightened. Even though Joseph didn’t have the vigor of a young man, he was still very healthy and physically qualified to perform challenging jobs. However, he had abandoned the skies when his boy had the age to travel them. The sky didn’t call his attention anymore, or he didn’t feel the thrill of the younger years while sailing them. The emotion, however, was deeply imprinted in his heart and mind whenever he saw the Lights or felt the wind ruffling through his thinning hair. He had passed on his joy for sailing the clouds to his children and that was the most important and valuable legacy he could have left for them.
“Father, please don’t be sentimental,” Daniel said, “I said I was going to teach her, I never break my word. Come on Aimee, let’s sail the Light Chaser.” Daniel patted his father on his back and walked ahead to the hangar where they had their ship, anchored to the Earth for more than four month. After such a long hiatus, the ship and its captain longed for a glide together.
Aimee watched her brother walk away with happy strides, it had been a long summer he had not borne too well without the Light Chaser, but the Lights rarely showed themselves during summer time and it would be a waste of Dust to just fly their ship into the not-so-dark night. She walked to her father and planted a light kiss on his cheek. “I promise to look after him,” she whispered.
“No,” Joseph said, taking her hands in his, “promise to have fun and enjoy the Lights. Flying is perhaps the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had and I want it to be the same for you.”
Aimee nodded, “I will father.” She gave him one last smile before jogging after her brother. The hangar was only a quarter of a mile away from their cottage. Joseph watched the slim figure of her daughter between spasms of darkness and light. He tightly shut his eyes and clutched the door frame; he blinked several times before the patches of darkness disappeared completely from his sight. He had been having these nauseous attacks ever since last winter, and every time, the pain was worst and almost unbearable. However, he wasn’t the kind of man who would make his children worry about him when they had their entire life before them. He wanted to hold on to dear life as long as he could and fight for his children and his beloved wife, who was gone from this world when Daniel and Aimee were just little kids. Aimee’s dark green eyes were the eyes of his wife, Sophia, and the mere sight of joy in them lit up his heart, it was enough to make him go through his day and block the spasms of pain out. He wanted to watch the Light Chaser soar into the sky before his tired body yielded to a deep slumber.